My pre-digital camera years 

Over my younger years, I had a variety of film-cameras that I would take with me on various trips, but not many pictures survived.

I’ve found a few photo albums, still preserved in ye olde worlde Max Spielmann packets. The earliest one is from a school holiday to Annecy (France).

Digital era

My interest in photography came on leaps and bounds when working for 4Front Services (now part of the NCR group these days) in South Ruislip and Watford between 1997-1999.

We had to support the latest PC and Apple machines, along with their hardware. One Xmas, was the Barney toy (it sat on a circular USB hub and allowed the few games to ‘talk’ to it) and a Kodak digital camera.

This beast of a camera (it was in 1998/1999 so was probably a ‘standard size’ for the time) could only take 2 Megapixel images. But you could delete unwanted images with ease, as well as download them via a card-reader into your PC.

I’ve not been able to find any images of this actual camera model, but the nearest match, based on my memories, are of the Kodak DC260 on this site.

Many small cameras came …

I’ve had more than my fair share of digital ‘pocket’ cameras since then and each one was that little bit better than the other.

My little Canon IXUS 20 was my first “proper” digital camera in that it had a half-decent optical zoom (for the time!) and other funky features, such as ’tilt shift’ built-in to the software.

First ‘proper’ digital – Samsung Galaxy


However, the Samsung Galaxy Camera was the first ‘eye opener’ for me as it came with a 21x zoom and, as it was Android-powered, meant that I could have a few (!) of my Android apps installed on it.

It could take much higher quality pictures than my Android phone at the time. It had a SIM card option built-in, so I bought a monthly data-only contract with GiffGaff which meant I could upload pictures from wherever I was.

The ‘big boy’ update: Nikon B700 (Bridge camera)

I upgraded a few years ago to the Nikon B700 and what a wonderful device it is. A nice 60x zoom, 4K video and superb macro options built in.

This camera accompanied me on lots of trips around the UK and Europe. So much power in a “simple” bridge camera.

Also taking pictures with my Smartphone too!

In late 2018, I upgraded to a Huawei Mate Pro 20 as my smartphone. Even without using the built-in camera AI, it takes a damn good photo! I found this review on Digital Camera World more than enough to get me to take the plunge.

If you follow me on that there Instagram (see below), you can see some pictures from a recent Xmas jaunt around Paris, Antwerp and Amsterdam showing off what’s possible from a “smartphone”!

New camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III


I’ve been interested in the replacement for my B700. So, in May 2019, I purchased an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. As part of the bundle deal on Amazon, it came with three separate lenses – the 42mm one you had to send off for.

I admit that whilst I’m not “new” to all of this ‘interchangeable lens’ – it’s what put me off using my bulky Canon DSLR back in the day – this is a Micro Four Thirds camera. It also that kicked off a (small) addiction to Micro Four Thirds lenses …

It’s a lot smaller, weighs less and easily fits inside one of those camera backpacks 🙂


I have been on Instagram for a few years now. However, I started out using Streamzoo first. Streamzoo was a lot better than Instagram as you didn’t just have to stick to the usual ‘square shape only’ format.

I had a few weeks to manually back up every photo that I had uploaded when Streamzoo announced it was closing down for good! Very few were moved across to Instagram, but the majority of the original photos are all sat on a NAS drive these days.

All of my pictures are posted under my BillOddieClone guise.

This nickname was picked due to someone I worked with many years ago at IBM helpdesk in Liverpool – his name was Andi Gow and he could ride a unicycle! He mentioned that I looked like Bill Oddie, so picking the Instagram user name was easy.

The fact that a few variants nearer to my first choice of “MugUK” were already taken, probably helped me go in the direction of this new ‘nom de plume’.

Instameets with IgersMCR


I go on a few Instameets courtesy of the IgersMcr group.

I’ve seen bits of Manchester that I didn’t know existed and each Instameet is a combination of amateurs, semi-professionals and real pros.

However, despite meeting all of these clever people on these Instameets, I still don’t know how to use a “proper” camera. Now that I have my new Olympus, I look forward to attending more of these events and trying out the new lenses in 2019.